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Dave Smith (MA Archaeology 1999)


Originally from the Manchester area, my first degree was at Bradford studying Electrical Engineering & Management (I am a Chartered Engineer & Fellow of the IET). I am now an experienced business management, strategy, marketing & technology senior manager and have worked at board level across a range of businesses worldwide, including running the European marketing/businesses for some global technology brands such as Cisco & D-Link. I took an Archaeology MA at Reading mid-career to fulfil a lifelong ambition. More recently, I have set up and now run my own business. I have recently moved back to the University area in Reading with my partner Dian.

Why did you choose to study at the University of Reading?

I wanted to pursue a lifelong ambition to study Archaeology/History, and Reading gave me the flexibility to do this with the MA programme while still working full-time.

What was the best bit about living and studying in Reading?

Reading is fairly accessible with good transport links. The town has developed a lot over the past 15 years and has a good social scene. It's also easy to get into London without having the disadvantages of London prices.

What top tips would you give to students who are beginning their studies?

Try to balance a healthy mix of social and study. Both aspects are important when embarking on your career post-University. You need a good degree but you also need to show you can work in a social/ team environment and can differentiate yourself from others who have the same qualifications. So work hard but make sure you build up your social skills and profile.

What are you up to now? How did you get there?

I have now set up and run my own business and marketing consultancy company, specialising in marketing and strategy for technology companies. I have recently moved back to the University area in Reading because of the importance of Reading to the technology sector. I also occasionally lecture/train in Marketing /business when opportunities arise.

What would be your top tips for students interested in working in this sector?

Experience and contacts are key, since you need to stand out from the crowd. Look to get as much hands-on experience in these companies as possible and pick work experience that is relevant to the job you eventually want to do.

How has the University of Reading and the Careers Centre helped in your chosen career path?

I'm afraid I already had a career path before I came to Reading and the choice of my MA subject (Archaeology) had no direct relevance to my career!

What are your top tips for students graduating this year? What should they be doing to secure the job they want?

Don't solely rely on the internet for applications - you need to be visible to people. Be persistent. ‘Personal' contact is very important. And don't underestimate the importance of social skills to the job-hunting process - you will get a job based on skills that are not purely academic, such as how you interact with people, how you can show you can work in a team, how you express yourself and (depending on the job) personality/life skills that fit the job.

What does the University mean to you and what is your favourite memory?

The University helped me to fulfil a lifelong ambition. I really enjoyed my time at Reading and hope to potentially return in the near future to pursue further study in the subject. I have many good memories of my time there, but the best memories are of the people I met during my period of study - both staff & students - from such a diverse range of backgrounds, cultures and subject areas which really enriched the overall learning experience and added to social aspects of University life. 

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